Techmer PM has come to market with a new black plastics colorant and a new purging agent.
The black colorant was developed because black plastic "causes endless headaches for plastics recyclers," officials said, because typical carbon black pigments absorb the near-infrared (NIR) light used by recyclers to sort material streams. Officials said this process leads to tons of mixed plastics not being properly sorted, which means they can't be recycled and end up in landfills.
"Whether it's a body wash bottle or a dinner tray, it has to be sortable," Steve Loney, market development director, said in an interview with Plastics News.
Techmer's new, improved grades of NIR-sortable black colorant allows NIR reflection to enable accurate sorting at recycling facilities while maintaining the product's black color.
By enabling verifiable recycling of black plastic, officials said the colorant allows brand owners who use carbon black in their products to better meet sustainability goals while maintaining their desired brand identity.
To date, the technology has primarily been in high density polyethylene, but officials said it also works effectively with polypropylene and PET. All are suitable for FDA applications. Techmer can custom-tailor solutions to include such factors as resin grade, thickness and the level of post-consumer content.
"Techmer already is working on next-generation technology that will offer even better opacity, allowing for improved coverage of post-consumer resin while using less color concentrate," Steve Smith, rigid packaging market manager, said in a news release.
"We formulate with multiple components to improve upon the offerings from the raw material suppliers resulting in a blacker black," Color Innovation and Technology Manager Kimberly Williamson added in the release.
Techmer can make the new black products at most of its seven North American sites to enable faster delivery. The materials "are starting to gain traction" in the U.S. market, according to Loney.